Neighborhood NewsIndian Country


Controversy at Heart Butte school

Heart Butte Warriors
Posted at 8:24 PM, Jan 06, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-09 12:59:37-05

Back in February 2023, MTN reported on the alleged misappropriation of funds within Heart Butte school district. Now new developments have unfolded, bringing with them serious concerns over the school's financial future.

The school board meeting scheduled for January 9th will be solution-oriented, an effort to keep the school open after findings from an internal review revealed the extent of mishandled district funding.

An investigation is ongoing, however at least one district employee allegedly used district purchasing cards to make unauthorized transactions for personal use totaling roughly $70,000. Nearly $300,000 unauthorized dollars have been issued to district credit cards. An additional $1.45 million dollars of debt have been accrued due to mishandling of payroll taxes and retirement benefits.

The Heart Butte school district fears the total debt accrued to be roughly $3.5 million by year's end, a figure which could ultimately shut the school down.

To mitigate the debt, the district is proposing to lay off 31 non-essential employees, and 188 students may be at risk of losing access to their current education.

Heart Butte School Board Agenda for January 9

Tara Walker Lyons said, “These children, they already experience a great deal of insecurity, like food insecurity, so to rip the support out from under them could really change the trajectory of their life in a negative way. I think that pointing fingers and, you know, assigning blame, that's for other people. I'm interested in solutions. I'm interested in finding out how we can pool our resources and save this school and save this community."

MTN News contacted Heart Butte superintendent Mike Tatsey, who declined to comment at this time.

We will update you as we get more information.

Controversy continues at Heart Butte school


heart butte map